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2FM and Today FM slugging it out as they're almost neck and neck in latest radio figures

It was also a mixed bag for RTÉ Radio One in the latest JNLR figures.

Jenny Greene and Nicky Byrne's 2FM are gaining on Today FM, which features Dermot and Dave
Jenny Greene and Nicky Byrne's 2FM are gaining on Today FM, which features Dermot and Dave

TODAY AND RTÉ’s 2FM are almost neck and neck in terms of their market share, with 2FM making gains on its rival, according to the latest JNLR listenership figures.

2FM had more listeners for shows such as Breakfast Republic, Nicky Byrne Show with Jenny Green and Tracey Clifford in the latest quarterly radio figures, while there were fewer for the likes of Today FM’s Dermot & Dave and Matt Cooper.

This means the RTÉ station has increased its market share for 2FM from 6.9% to 7.2%, just behind Today FM’s share of 7.3%.

Today FM remains ahead with a weekly audience of 880,000, while 2FM has 844,000.

RTÉ

It was a mixed bag for RTÉ’s midweek schedule in the latest JNLR figures, with some up and some down among its prime slots.

Here’s a breakdown (please note all figures refer to changes since the last quarter):

  • Morning Ireland  – down 4,000 to 434,000 listeners
  • The Ryan Tubridy Show – up 3,000 to 313,000
  • Today with Seán O’Rourke – up 10,000 to 317,000
  • The Ronan Collins show – up 4,000 to 317,000
  • The News at One – down 5,000 to 341,000
  • Liveline with Joe Duffy – down 7,000 to 374,000
  • The Ray D’Arcy show – no change to 219,000
  • Drivetime – down 6,000 to 222,000

The Today with Sean O’Rourke show continues its rise in recent times, having increased listener numbers by 12,000 in the previous quarter. During the time of this survey, Miriam O’Callaghan was filling in for Sean O’Rourke during the summer months before O’Rourke returned in September. 

Tom McGuire, the head of RTÉ Radio One, told TheJournal.ie that these figures represented a “solid performance”.

“We’ve found growth in the mornings,” he said. “With things a bit brighter and lighter during the summer.”

On O’Callaghan’s performance taking over for a period from O’Rourke, he said: “Miriam took the torch and ran with it and burned brightly. It’s what she inherited from Sean, it’s the great team we have.”

It was a particularly good quarter for 2FM, with Breakfast Republic increasing to 189,000 (up 3,000), the Nicky Byrne Show with Jenny Greene on 153,000 (up 5,000), Tracey Clifford increasing to 142,000 (up 8,000) and Eoghan McDermott on 145,000 (up 1,000). 

pastedImage Source: RTÉ/JNLR

Dan Healy, head of RTÉ’s 2FM told TheJournal.ie that the figures – and rises made over recent quarters – were a sign the station is flourishing and “isn’t going anywhere”. 

“This is seven books (quarters) in a row with increases for us now,” he said. “We’ve had solid incremental increases.”

We’re blessed we have a fantastic team here. 

With Westlife announcing a new tour with a sold-out date in Croke Park already, the station is resigned to losing Nicky Byrne for five months, but Healy said 2FM is in a much better situation to deal with his absence than it may have previously been.

“When Gerry Ryan sadly passed away, the station nearly passed with him,” he said. “Nicky has been brilliant and a huge part of our success, but we knew this was going to happen. We have six months now to figure out what we’re going to do but we’re lucky that we’re already in a great place.”

Today FM

There were falls in listenership for some of Today FM’s primetime midweek shows, with the exception of one strong rise for Fergal D’Arcy’s 2pm-4.30pm slot.

  • Ian Dempsey Breakfast Show – down 5,000 to 162,000 listeners
  • Dermot & Dave – down 3,000 to 164,000
  • Muireann O’Connell – down 1,000 to 105,000
  • Fergal D’Arcy – up 10,000 to 112,000.
  • The Last Word with Matt Cooper – down 4,000 to 137,000

A spokesperson for Today FM said that these figures are in line with what they expected.

They said: As expected, this was a steady book for Today FM given both our primetime and weekend schedule is not yet one year on air. To have 880,000 people from across Ireland tuning in weekly is a testament to our line up.  We’ve seen a stellar performance from Fergal D’Arcy in the afternoons while Alison Curtis and Kelly-Anne Byrne both grew in the weekends.”

In the case of Curtis’ weekend breakfast show, she grew her listenership by 25,000 compared to the previous quarter.

Newstalk

It was a solid performance for Newstalk, also, with shows such as Moncrieff and the Hard Shoulder increasing its listeners, but Pat Kenny and Newstalk Breakfast dropping:

  • Newstalk Breakfast – down 5,000 to 121,000 listeners
  • Pat Kenny Show – down 3,000 to 152,000
  • Lunchtime Live with Ciara Kelly – down 1,000 to 101,000
  • Moncrieff – up 4,000 to 91,000
  • The Hard Shoulder with Ivan Yates – up 4,000 to 157,000

Newstalk has a weekly reach of 769,000 listeners which represents a market share of 6.7%.

Patricia Monaghan, managing editor of Newstalk, said: “We are pleased with today’s JNLR results which signal a strong performance across our weekday and weekend schedules.”

The JNLR figures are conducted by IpsosMRBI using a sample of over 16,000 adults in Ireland. Analysis of the at is conducted at national, regional and local level and by the main demographic groups for all stations.

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Sean Murray

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